Many Questions Remain over Tyre Strategy Calls in Barcelona – Mario Isola

by Paul Hensby

Mario Isola thought that some drivers might have gambled on getting through Q2 on Saturday using the Medium compound tyre at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but all ten drivers who did make it through to Q3 will start the race on the soft compound.

Valtteri Bottas’ lap record breaking pole lap for the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport team confirmed Isola’s pre-race expectations that Qualifying was going to be a rapid affair, with the Finn setting a new fastest lap of 1:15.406s to take pole position.

Isola, the Head of F1 and Car Racing of Formula 1’s sole tyre supplier Pirelli, believes those teams may be targeting a two-stop strategy on Sunday by using this strategy, although there are possibilities that they could extend their stint on the soft long enough to make a one-stopper the way to go.

However, with those drivers inside the top ten committed to a soft tyre start, Isola feels there could be possibilities that drivers outside the top ten could use an alternative strategy work to score points.

“Like we thought, this was an extremely rapid qualifying session, with Bottas lowering the pole benchmark from last year by more than half a second and setting another circuit record,” said Isola.

“We thought that some drivers might attempt to get through Q2 on the medium tyre but this turned out not to be the case, which means that they are either targeting a two-stopper or they feel confident that a soft-hard strategy would work tomorrow.

“It’s going to be interesting to see which option they choose, and whether or not an alternative strategy from outside the top 10 could challenge their thinking. Weather conditions have varied a bit today, and this could be another factor influencing tyre performance tomorrow.”

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